Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

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Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though.

The present ocean current configuration in the Gulf features a newly formed Loop Current Eddy (dubbed "Franklin"), which will tend to capture the majority of oil that flows southwards from the Deepwater Horizon spill site. A plot of drifting buoys (drifters) launched into the Gulf May 19 - 24 (Figure 2) reveals how this clockwise-rotating eddy has been capturing southward-moving surface water. Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. Between now and mid-August, I doubt that a significant amount of oil will get into the Loop Current, unless a hurricane or tropical storm goes through the Gulf of Mexico. I put the odds of this happening by mid-August at 50%. The odds of a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico will increase sharply after mid-August, when the peak portion of hurricane season arrives. Past history shows a 95% chance of getting two or more named storms in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane seasons with above-normal activity.


Figure 1. Animation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showing one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean.


Figure 2. During the R/V Bellows 19-24 May 2010 Cruise into the Loop Current, drifters were dropped on the eastern edge of the Loop Current. These drifters have all been caught in Loop Current Eddy "Franklin", and are orbiting the central Gulf of Mexico in clockwise loops. Additional drifters deployed by the Coast Guard over the past few weeks (orange colors) are also shown. The colored balloons show the starting location of the drifters. Image credit: University of South Florida.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet unleashes heavy rains on Oman
Tropical Cyclone Phet hit the northern tip of Oman yesterday as a Category 2 storm, bringing torrential rains and killing at least two people. Masirah, Oman recorded sustained winds of 74 mph yesterday, and Sur, Oman on the northeast coast has received 3.25 inches of rain so far. Phet was the 2nd strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, when it peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was stronger. Phet has emerged from the coast of Oman this morning, but is likely to weaken over the next day due to increased wind shear. Phet should hit Pakistan as a tropical storm on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and serious flooding.

Next update
I'll probably have one update over the weekend. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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Dr. Masters would be an excellent person to create a real weather channel."The Tropical Weather Underground Channel"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Evening all!

Quoting SiestaCpl:
TWC has news of a train derailment from earlier today in NV...and news of Tornado "Watches" in the ohio valley...JUST WATCHES!!!!!!!!


Last week a "Large extremely dangerous tornado" was coming straight to my town, and they were talking about how hot it has been in the south.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: May 13, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 145
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
A tornadic thunderstorm may reach the Detroit-Windsor and southern Chicago areas in an hour. I can't believe how close the tornadoes are to my location when it's all calm here!


That is what makes these so dangerous in the Summer evenings..people are enjoying the summer cool evening and are no where near the TV that could warn them.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
Quoting sflawavedude:
I dont care about past stories I want live tv on twc!

I agree, save the stories when things are really quiet, not now, 27 tornado reports and counting!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
What part of Ohio do you live in Makoto?
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4499
Im now under a severe T storm warning
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
People are dying but the hippies are ok!
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Quoting MrstormX:


Homewood, Illinois South of chicago


Your catching the line of thunderstorms now?
Member Since: September 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 283
Now they are admitting tornados on the ground...a bit late!!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
I dont care about past stories I want live tv on twc!
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Magnolia, IL is being a declared a disaster area by their local EWS officials. Downed power lines is keeping the folks from severestudioes.com out at the moment.

TWC back on the air :O)!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
TWC has news of a train derailment from earlier today in NV...and news of Tornado "Watches" in the ohio valley...JUST WATCHES!!!!!!!!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
About time TWC is live again.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4499
of course.. storm stories gets done and now there back on air..
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People being rescued out of the theater, medic is being requested. State Police are at the scene.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Start checking for Bloomington/Normal TV stations and also for Champaign/Urbana Tv stations..someone there will have this live..I pray!!!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
Once upon a time TWC used to give awesome information, long, long time ago, when it was John Hope on the Hurricane Desk, and they used to care about reporting severe weather!!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
TWC just had a documentary on RITA all about a dolphin stuck in a ditch!!
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Quoting MrstormX:


Hah you have people dying in major cities, movie theaters collapsing, high schools being converted to morgues. And they are showing this crap with some untrained hippies running around. GOD IM ANGRY


No...no...no. You're mistaken.
TWC is the supposed "Severe Weather Authority". LOL.....not!
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2634. hydrus
Quoting pottery:

Peoria is a very Peculiar place.
It might be even more peculiar now.
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Quoting 850Realtor:
MrStormX, what's your location?


Homewood, Illinois South of chicago
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting tropicaltank:
Are you sure that you wouldn't rather watch 2 hippies drive 2000 miles to catch the weak side of a cat-1 in Canada?


Hah you have people dying in major cities, movie theaters collapsing, high schools being converted to morgues. And they are showing this crap with some untrained hippies running around. GOD IM ANGRY
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting tropicaltank:
Are you sure that you wouldn't rather watch 2 hippies drive 2000 miles to catch the weak side of a cat-1 in Canada?

Nah, they're only kids. about 30 yrs old. I have kids in their late 20's.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
I thought the weather channel wants to help cover weather then showing destruction that already is happen and then some.. While people still not getting warn fast enough..
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My wife and I are currently with the FL Emergency response team for tropical severe weather readying for the hurricane season....living on the West coast of FL. It is hard to hear these hitting friends and family up North.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
MrStormX, what's your location?
Member Since: September 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 283
Quoting tropicaltank:
Are you sure that you wouldn't rather watch 2 hippies drive 2000 miles to catch the weak side of a cat-1 in Canada?

TWC needs to be caned with a large bamboo cane soaked in brine!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
Wow.. The weather channel should change there name to weather documentaries .. b/c everytime i go to the weather channel, its always a story of some sort.. I guess money talks more when you get bought out by another company... I missed the days they actually covered storms, hurricanes, or other events that happen.. Then they go cover it until it is over with.. But not anymore..


100% correct. NBC sucks. I hope they get bought out, and TWC gets back to the way it should. They only have like 10 OCM's now, and one is Al Roker.
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Member Since: May 13, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 145
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
950 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

ILC091-060315-
/O.CON.KLOT.TO.W.0009.000000T0000Z-100606T0315Z/
KANKAKEE IL-
950 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHERN KANKAKEE COUNTY
UNTIL 1015 PM CDT...

AT 949 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 4 MILES WEST OF HERSCHER...OR 12 MILES EAST OF
DWIGHT...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
HERSCHER AROUND 955 PM CDT.
IRWIN AROUND 1000 PM CDT.
KANKAKEE CITY AROUND 1010 PM CDT.
AROMA PARK AND ST. ANNE AROUND 1015 PM CDT.

THIS IS A DANGEROUS LIFE THREATENING STORM. PERSONS IN THE PATH OF
THIS STORM IN CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN KANKAKEE COUNTY SHOULD TAKE COVER
NOW!

OTHER LOCATIONS IMPACTED BY THIS TORNADO INCLUDE BONFIELD AND IRWIN AND BRADLEY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS TORNADO HAS PRODUCED EXTENSIVE DAMAGE ALREADY. TORNADOES ARE
DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF
THIS TORNADO GET INTO A TORNADO SHELTER NOW!

&&

LAT...LON 4101 8766 4100 8805 4102 8825 4119 8824
4120 8762
TIME...MOT...LOC 0245Z 277DEG 34KT 4107 8817

$$
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Are you sure that you wouldn't rather watch 2 hippies drive 2000 miles to catch the weak side of a cat-1 in Canada?
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


There is not one confirmed, but there is a high likelihood one is forming.

I believe that a tornado is nearby Marshall, MI, south of Battle Creek, MI.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting MrstormX:


same, this is making me really angry


I have Storm Stories on now....and in 7 minutes we should get PM Edition Weekend for an hour, but them crappy programming again begins at midnight.
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2619. Makoto1
Tornado watch issued for my area until 5AM EDT.
Wow.. The weather channel should change there name to weather documentaries .. b/c everytime i go to the weather channel, its always a story of some sort.. I guess money talks more when you get bought out by another company... I missed the days they actually covered storms, hurricanes, or other events that happen.. Then they go cover it until it is over with.. But not anymore..
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Quoting MrstormX:
Im hearing reports of A tornado heading towards Ann Arbor, Michigan can any one confirm this?


The National Weather Service in Detroit/Pontiac has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
Washtenaw County in Southeast Michigan...

* until 1115 PM EDT

* at 1035 PM EDT... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado. This dangerous
storm was located near Brooklyn... and moving east at 40 mph.

* This dangerous storm will be near...
Manchester around 1055 PM EDT.
Pleasant Lake around 1100 PM EDT.
Bridgewater around 1105 PM EDT.
Saline and Pittsfield Township around 1115 PM EDT.

The warning includes areas surrounding these locations...
Willis... Dixboro... Ypsilanti...
Saline... Manchester... Ann Arbor...

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

Take cover now. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a
sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a Mobile home... a vehicle or
outdoors... move to the closest substantial shelter and protect
yourself from flying debris.


Lat... Lon 4236 8356 4209 8354 4208 8381 4208 8400
4207 8402 4207 8413 4229 8414
time... Mot... loc 0240z 269deg 34kt 4216 8422
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Called TWC rang about 14 times, no answer. I am rather peeved about this!!!


same, this is making me really angry
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting AllStar17:


I could make the graphics....LOL.


Some like this:
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Quoting SiestaCpl:
I just spoke with friends in the path..they were having a dinner party and had the TV off. They were unaware of the danger..they are calling friends and family in the area as well. Most people in the area would not be watching any local station as they, like all of us, have given up on the major stations and prime time. There are sirens in some areas but not in unincorporated areas which are now at risk. The IL State Univ is out for summer so that is good as it is directly in the Path of what has been described as an EF3+. There are two major RV parks in the path on the North side of I75 between Streator and Bloomington/Normal which are normally full this time of year. I stayed they many many nights and they have no warning systems.

Thanks for the update, please be safe and I pray the God keeps everyone safe :O)..
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Levi32:


We really could do it too lol.


I could make the graphics....LOL.
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Route 8 sounds heavy hit
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
A tornadic thunderstorm may reach the Detroit-Windsor and southern Chicago areas in an hour. I can't believe how close the tornadoes are to my location when it's all calm here!
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2609. Levi32
Quoting tropicaltank:
Lets start our own cable weather station.Im sick of the weather channel.


We really could do it too lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Im hearing reports of A tornado heading towards Ann Arbor, Michigan can any one confirm this?
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Lets start our own cable weather station.Im sick of the weather channel.
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Member Since: May 13, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 145

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.